10/08/13 5:00pm

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO | Cameron Clark ready to rip a backhand. She and doubles partner, Francesca Frasco, defeated a pair of Shoreham Wading river opponents.

The Shelter Island JV girls tennis team had a good week, going 2-1, winning against Shoreham Wading River and Center Moriches but falling to Riverhead.

On Monday, we traveled to Riverhead. After a quiet bus ride it was time to play, but the girls seemed a little fatigued. With Nicole Poleshuk out sick and Cameron Clark not available, we started the match down 1-0, defaulting fourth singles.

Keri Ann Mahoney, who had not lost a match all season, was not playing up to par. With her knee bothering her due to surgery last season, she toughed out the match but fell short to Kathryn Chenliowska at first singles. Madi Hallman and Emily Hyatt at second and third singles had close matches but also fell short in straight sets.

All three doubles matches went to third set tiebreakers. Evi Saunders teamed up with Caitlin Binder at first doubles. They had the best doubles match of the season, lasting almost two hours. The first set the Shelter Island duo won in a tiebreaker 7-4. The second set also went to a tiebreaker with Riverhead winning 7-5. That meant another tiebreaker to decide the match. This one went past the 7 points needed to win, since you need to win by 2 points. Evi and Caitlin fell a little short, losing 9-7, but it really was a well-fought, exciting match.

At second doubles Jenny Case and Brianna Kimmelmann lost the first set 6-2, won the second set 6-0 but fell two points short in the third set tiebreaker 7-5.

Third doubles was played by Taylor Sherman and Francesca Frasco. They also had a three set match and came out on top. They lost the first set 6-4, won the second set 7-5 and won the tiebreaker 9-7. This was a nice win as Francesca is a first year player and has not had a chance to play in a lot of matches since a number of schools do not have enough players.

So, unfortunately, we took our first league loss 6-1. But some times a loss is a good learning experience and I think that this was one of those times. The girls turned around and played great tennis the rest of the week.

On Wednesday, Shoreham Wading River traveled to Shelter Island. Again we had another match filled with third set tiebreakers. But this time we won four out of five of them.

Keri Ann won quickly at first singles, 6-1, 6-1. Madi had a nice match at second singles. She lost the first set 6-3, won the second set 6-2 and prevailed in the tiebreaker 8-6.

At third singles Emily also went to a third set tiebreaker but fell 7-2. Caitlin played fourth singles in this match and had a straight set victory.

Again all three doubles went to third set tiebreakers. But it was our day, winning all three. At first doubles Evi and Nicole won their tiebreaker 7-3. Jenny and Brianna also won the tiebreaker 7-3. Third doubles Francesca and Cameron won 7-2.

It was really nice to see the girls bounce back after Monday’s loss, winning all those tiebreakers. Good job! We won the match 6-1.

On Friday, Center Moriches was up. When we played them earlier in the season we squeaked out a 4-3 win. So I was looking forward to another close match. I was sadly disappointed when they showed up with only five girls. That meant only three singles matches and one doubles match. Shelter Island was leading 3-0 before we even served a ball.

The girls who played — Keri Ann, Madi and Emily at singles, and Evi and Nicole at doubles — all had their “A” game going, losing only 6 games between them. We walked away with a 7-0 win but learned more from the 6-1 loss to Riverhead.

I am sad to say that our last match is Friday at Southampton. It should be a good one.

10/03/13 4:30pm

JO ANN KIRKLAND PHOTO | Coach Sue Warner at the net, coaching Emily Hyatt of the JV girls tennis team.

The Shelter Island JV girls tennis team had two great matches last week.

On Monday we went to Southold where we started the match with a 2 to 0 lead and just rolled from there. The three singles, Keri Ann Mahoney, Emily Hyatt and Madi Hallman, all won easily, losing only five games between them. The two doubles teams — Evi Saunders and Nicole Poleshuk at first and Jenny Case and Brianna Kimmelamann at second — also won easily.

Tuesday’s match against Center Moriches was a different story, a real barn burner, coming down to the last match on the courts.
At first singles Keri Ann was tested in the opening set but prevailed in a tiebreaker and went on to win the second set 6-0. Score one for Shelter Island.

Emily had a real battle against Mackenzie Walsh at second singles. She lost the first set 6-3 and then took the second set 6-4. So a tiebreaker was needed for the third set. Emily was down 6-1, battled back to tie the score at 6-6, but lost 9-7. It was a great effort falling a little short. Final tally: Shelter Island 1, Center Moriches 1.

Madi played great at third singles, winning a well-fought battle 6-4, 6-4.

With Caitlin Binder, my usual fourth singles player, out sick, I had to change the line-up a little. I took Jenny, a second doubles player, and moved her to fourth singles. This would end up being the last and deciding match.

Evi and Nicole had a tough match at first doubles. They lost the first set 6-2, won the second set 6-4. Now we had another third set tiebreaker. The girls played strong, winning the tiebreaker 7-2 for a result of Shelter Island 3, Center Moriches 1.

At second doubles Brianna paired up with Taylor Sherman. They also split sets and needed a third set tiebreaker. Unfortunately they didn’t fare as well, losing the tiebreaker 7-2.

At third doubles Cameron Clark and Francesca Frasco, who are both playing tennis for the first time, fell short, losing 6-1, 6-3 to Alexis Knowles and Kayla O’Leary: Shelter Island 3, Center Moriches 3.

It all came down to the last match on the courts with Jenny playing fourth singles. She started off strong, winning the first set 6-0. She was the only one still playing and we didn’t want to tell her she was the deciding match. She continued to play well, winning the second set 6-1 and thus winning the match for us.

Overall score Shelter Island 4, Center Moriches 3. Job well done!

We have a home match against Center Moriches Friday, I hope to see you there and I hope the match will be as competitive as the last one. Other home matches coming up: Monday, October 7 against Southold and Wednesday, October 9, against Mattittuck — our last home match.

09/25/13 5:00pm

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO | Down a set, Madi Hallman fought back to win a match against a Southampton player at home Friday.

The Shelter Island girls tennis team had three matches last week. The girls went 2-1 with wins over Mattituck and Southampton.

The loss was a non-league scrimmage against Westhampton, a school in a higher league.

We started the week off going to Westhampton where the girls did a great job against a substantially larger school with an excellent tennis reputation. We had two winning courts. Keri Ann Mahoney won at first singles, beating Alexa Pedneault 6-2, 7-5. Emily Hyatt, playing second singles, had a long match that she won in a third set tiebreaker versus Bobbi Rifkin. The other matches were all competitive with Westhampton coming out on the winning end. The overall match score was 5-2 in favor of Westhampton, but I am very proud of how the girls represented Shelter Island tennis.

On Wednesday we went to Mattituck. I was surprised they didn’t have the 10 girls needed to play and had to default third doubles. We started the match with a 1 to 0 lead, although we did not need it as the girls played well and we won 6-1. The first three singles players — Keri Ann, Emily and Caitlin Binder — all had easy wins, only losing 8 games between them. Madi Hallman had a tough match falling to Kim Scheer.

The two doubles teams, Evi Saunders and Nicole Poleschuk at first and Jenny Case and Brianna Kimmelmann at second, also had easy wins.

On Friday, we had a home match against Southampton. This team was also short players. They defaulted second and third doubles. At first singles Keri Ann, who was undefeated, was tested more than in any of her other matches and did a great job of staying undefeated, winning 6-4, 6-3 over Molly Squires. Emily had a long battle with Olivia Brnyn at second singles but fell short 6-3, 6-2. Caitlin played well at third singles and won quickly 6-4, 6-2.

Madi avenged her loss from Wednesday. She lost the first set 6-0 and came over to me to say the girl didn’t score correctly. I said we can’t change that now. She said then I have to win the next set and a tiebreaker to win the match. I said yes, and that is what she did. She won the second set 6-3 and won the tiebreaker 7-3. It was an awesome comeback after a frustrating 6-0 first set loss.

The first doubles team of Evi and Nicole had some really great points but fell to Gianna Fiorello and Caleigh Kienback.
We won the match 5-2. We will be playing Southampton again the last day of the season and it should be a great match if they have all of their players.

The team’s record is 4-0 in their league and 4-1 overall. We have away matches this week and will return to our home courts on Wednesday, October 2 against Shoreham and Friday, October 4 against Center Moriches. I hope to see you there.

Sue Warner is the Shelter Island tennis coach.

09/13/13 4:30pm

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO | Nicole Poleshuk, seen here following through on a volley, and her partner Evi Saunders had a close doubles match against a Riverhead pair Monday, but came through for a straight sets win.

The Shelter Island junior varsity girls tennis team started the 2013 season with a solid 5-2 win over Riverhead at home on Monday, September 9.

By the 4 p.m. match time, there was a great crowd to catch opening day at the tennis courts. It was nice to see so many families, friends and local tennis aficionados showing their support.

Because Shelter Island only has four courts, not all players get to start at once. (We play four singles and three doubles, for a total of seven matches.) Against Riverhead, we chose first and second singles and first and second doubles to play first.

Keri Ann Mahoney, our first singles player, had an easy 6-0-6 win against Kathleen Gregory. Second doubles, Taylor Sherman and Caitlin Binder also had a quick 6-1-1 win versus Brianna Corwin and Stephanie Costello.

At second singles, 8th grader Madi Hallman had a bit of a struggle but did an awesome job on key points, prevailing 6-4, 6-4 in a straight set win over Rebecca VanHauten.

First doubles, Nicole Poleshuk and Evi Saunders, had a close match but pulled out another 6-4, 6-4 straight set win against Nyleigh Green and Perla Leon.

Jenny Case and Brianna Kimmelmann played third doubles and won an easy first set 6-1 but had a battle in the second set, winning 6-4.
Emily Hyatt had a long, hard-fought match at third singles. The first set went to a tiebreaker, which Riverhead’s Kace Campanelli won 8-6. The second set was won by Emily, 7-5 so we played a third set tiebreaker. Unfortunately, Emily lost 7-4, but it was an excellent effort.

As said earlier, we play seven matches but unfortunately, we had two players with not enough practices so we defaulted fourth singles. Caitlin Binder played this spot and won, but it didn’t count as she already had played a doubles match.

I heard a few people say they were not sure of the scoring system. Here’s a quick crash course: high school scoring is a little different than the pros. If anyone watched the recent U.S. Open, you probably heard the announcers use the term “ad,” meaning “advantage.” We do not use “ad” scoring since it would make the matches too long. We score 0,1,1,3, game or 0, 15, 30, 40, game, whichever the player prefers. If the score is tied 3-3 or 40-40, whoever wins the next point wins the game, instead of having to win two in a row, the way “ad” scoring is used. Also, when the score is 3-3 or 40-40, whichever player is receiving the serve gets to pick the side on which they wish to receive the serve, either the right (forehand) side or the left (backhand). This is done since it’s believed the server has the advantage in putting the ball in play. Therefore, the returner picks the side they feel better returning from as somewhat of an equalizer.

Another difference in high school play is that we play two out of three sets, but if each player wins one set, the third set will be a shortened set, a 12-point tiebreaker.

It might seem a little confusing, but once you watch a few games, it becomes easy. Plus, the girls call out the score before each serve, with the server calling her score first.

Thanks to everyone for coming to watch. Congratulations to the girls for an opening day win. I hope to see you Friday, September 20 for our next home match versus Southampton.

10/21/12 1:00pm

PETER BOODY PHOTO | The first-ever Shelter Island girls tennis team.

As stated in the Reporter two weeks ago, Shelter Island High had its first varsity girls tennis team this year.

Before the season started, we had two disappointing losses. First, Keri Ann Mahoney had knee surgery in July and was out for the year. (Last year she was undefeated at second singles on JV); second, Melissa Ames went to the volleyball team. (Last year, she had only one loss at third singles.)

This left me with 11 players. Two of them are 7th graders, Madi Hallman and Caitlin Binder; and one 8th grader, Evi Saunders. These three girls had to pass running, agility and strength tests to play on the varsity level. Also returning were 9th grader Serina Kaasik; 10th grader Nicole Poleshuk; 11th graders Brianna Kimmelmann, Jenny Case and Taylor Sherman; and seniors Lisa Kaasik, Jill Calabro and Corrine Mahoney.

I knew we were going to have a tough year with the loss of the two players and playing on the varsity level.

Our team leader and captain, Lisa Kaasik, had a good year at first singles with a 6-6 record. Freshman Serina Kaasik, who played fourth singles last year, played second singles this year. She had a terrific win against Eastport/South Manor, who as a team was undefeated and won our league.

Playing third singles was Corrine. (She played first doubles last year.) So playing singles was a new game for her. She always seemed to get a really tough player. She had the closest match of anyone and did a great job of holding her own.

The fourth singles spot was shared by 7th graders Madi and Caitlin. They played much older and more experienced players but did a great job.

First doubles was Nicole and Evi. Often they faced a first- or second-singles player playing doubles, which made their job even harder. A team’s two best players usually play singles.

Second doubles was Jenny and Brianna. Their best match of the year was a three-set win against Southampton.

Third doubles was Jill and Taylor. They did a great job with wins against Southampton, Center Moriches and Southold.

Although the team didn’t have any varsity wins, we were close, losing four of our matches by only one point. It was a good experience for the girls to face more advanced players. Hopefully, they will set new goals for next year. For example: learning to hit with topspin, moving their feet to get set up for the ball and directing their shots.

We had two players who earned All-League honors this year, Lisa and Serina Kaasik. They also got to play in the conference tournament at William Floyd High School. Serina, unfortunately, had to play the number-three seed of the tournament in the first round and lost 6-0, 6-0. Lisa made it to the second round, where she had to play the eighth-seed Carly Grossman of East Hampton. She didn’t win but gave her a tough 6-3, 6-2 match. Congratulations to both of them.

As a coach, it was hard not winning a match. But I must say that of the six years coaching tennis at Shelter Island, this was my favorite year. I had a great bunch of girls whose ages and skill levels varied greatly but they all seemed to get along well. It was nice to watch all of them improve against the higher level of competition. I hope they all continue to play tennis.

I also want to say a special thanks to Lisa and Jill. The two or them have played on the tennis team for all six years. Thank you and I’m going to miss you next year. Come visit and bring your racquet.